With the Fourth of July fast approaching, pet owners need to take the proper steps to keep their animals safe during festivities. The number of animals being taken into shelters increases dramatically around the holiday, and most animals are found with no identification. When fireworks and other loud noises are going on outside, pets can do some pretty remarkable things to escape. Sadly, most pets that wind up at shelters aren’t wearing any form of identification and never find their way back home. Aside from making sure your pet is properly identified, here are some other tips on keeping your pet safe on the Fourth of July:

• Resist the urge to take your pet to fireworks displays and never use fireworks around pets.

• Obviously, severe burns can result if your pet is exposed to lit fireworks. In addition, unused fireworks can be dangerous to pets. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic, and other heavy metals.

• Do not leave your pet in the car during fireworks. Aside from experiencing heat stroke in a hot car, pets can also injure themselves trying to escape from a car if they are frightened by fireworks.

• Keep your pets indoors at home in a sheltered, quiet area. It’s best to keep your pets in a locked room that’s pet-proofed. Experts recommend leaving a television or radio on to keep your pet company and to help drown out the noise. There’s a music series called “through a dog’s ear” that claims to provide clinically tested solutions curbing anxiety in dogs. For more information, visit www.throughadogsear.com.

• If your dog is showing mild signs of distress, you can help by giving him a peanut butter-stuffed Kong toy to distract him and calm his nerves.

• If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like thunder, consult with your veterinarian before July 4 for ways to help alleviate the fear and anxiety. You may want to consider having someone remain home with your pet.

• Never leave pets outside unattended, even in a fenced yard or on a chain. Pets who normally won’t leave the yard, may escape at the sound of fireworks. It’s best to keep all pets inside.

• Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.

• Keep citronella candles, insect coils, and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

While I am all in favor of celebrating our country’s independence, I would like to see a shift from fireworks to alternative but equally impressive light displays. Laser light shows are just as remarkable as fireworks, but cause less pollution, are less of a fire danger, and don’t displace wild animals, making them much more humane!


ASAP Takes New Approach to National Shelter Cat Month

June is National Shelter Cat Month and ASAP, the nonprofit organization that takes care of the cats at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter in Goleta, is offering a new take on the old problem of cat overpopulation with its “Every Cat Has a Tale to Tell” campaign.

Approximately 4 million cats and kittens end up in shelters nationwide each year–and shockingly, 70 percent are euthanized. The cats at the Goleta shelter have it much better: More than 92 percent of cats and kittens in ASAP’s care are adopted. This extremely high “live release” rate is possible because of ASAP’s presence at the shelter, where, since 1989, dozens of volunteers have worked daily to provide care for the area’s homeless and abandoned cats.

However, by June each year, the ASAP shelter starts filling up with cats and kittens. And this year is no exception–currently there are over 75 adult cats at the shelter and 100 kittens in foster. The situation is critical, as the population of cats and kittens will continue to rise throughout the summer and fall months. Indeed, each day it costs ASAP over $100–or $3,000 per month–to feed just the kittens.

To draw attention to the problem of cat overpopulation at this peak time, ASAP has embraced the theme Every Cat Has a Tale to Tell. “Shelter cats aren’t broken. They’ve simply experienced more life. If they were human, we’d call them wise. They are the ones with the tales to tell and stories to write. The ones dealt a bad hand, who responded with courage. Do not pity a shelter cat. Save one.”

Every cat and kitten that ends up in a shelter has a story to tell, of heartbreak or hardship that caused them to be homeless through no fault of their own. ASAP will be featuring this theme throughout the month. The public is invited to join ASAP in celebrating June as National Shelter Cat Month by adopting, donating much needed funds, fostering a litter of kittens or volunteering at the shelter, and by attending either or both of these events.

ASAP is located at 5473 Overpass Road in Goleta, CA. For more information on “Every Cat Has A Tale to Tell” and National Adopt A Cat Month at ASAP, please call 805-683-3368 or visit www.asapcats.org

Adoptable Pet of the Week


Josie is a one and a half year old, 12 lbs., spayed female fox terrier and mystery mix. She is good with other dogs, kids, and adults, and walks very well on the leash and often looks up at you as if she were waiting for conversation with you. She has very nice manners and takes treats gently. She likes to ride in the car back where she rests and enjoys the air in her face. She can also run fast (when she is playing with another small dog), and yet she also enjoys snuggling on a lap. Josie has wonderful wire-haired fur with wispy hair on her face. She has long legs and beautiful coloring: a mix of white, black, and brown. Sometimes when you see her at the shelter with other dogs, she is jumping up to say she wants out for a walk or a cuddle, but once she is out of the kennel she calms down, opens her mouth in a wide smile, and is ready to go for a long walk.

We think she would make a fabulous family dog, good around children and other dogs; she has all the ability to learn a lot more training and make a great addition to any family. To learn more about Josie and how to adopt a dog, visit K-9PALS.org

To meet Josie, and other dogs for adoption, stop by the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter, 5473 Overpass Road. Or visit K-9 PALS and other adoptable dogs at one of their community outreach events held monthly at PETCO 5 Points and at the Pet House in Calle Real Shopping Center.

Viewing at the County Shelter is Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. All adoptable dogs are spayed/neutered and have current vaccinations. All adopters of county shelter dogs receive four free group training sessions that are provided by K-9 PALS.

If you are not looking to adopt, consider making a contribution as a K-9 PALS volunteer, or make a donation to K-9 PALS to pay for veterinary care, food, medications, and behavior training for shelter dogs. To find out how you can help homeless dogs in Santa Barbara County, visit www.k-9pals.org or call (805) 570-0415. Donations can be made to K-9 PALS, P.O. Box 60755, Santa Barbara, CA 93160-0755.


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